Can we all agree that intangible cultural heritage exists the world over? And that intangible heritage(s) can be a nation’s distinctive identity? I believe so, and what I have found in one full day in Addis Ababa certainly makes this statement ring true.
Unbeknownst to me when I got picked up at my hotel at 9am, that I would be on a whirlwind tour of many "hot spots" in the city, and that the proud people of Ethiopia shine through with each interaction I had on today’s journey.
My guide, Fre, and our driver (couldn’t spell his name if my life depended on it) were the perfect hosts to usher me around this amazing and passionate capital city.
The absolute highlight for me (and there were many to choose from), was heading over to the Sebe Dereja - Mother Teresa’s Children with Cancer Compound. It was a very sobering experience and I burst into tears while speaking (through interpreters, thankfully) to the parents of kids being treated for cancer at the Black Lion Hospital. The families come from distances up to 400km away, and stay at this compound when their child does not need to be hospitalized.
We also dropped off the quilts to the office and will be back tomorrow for the big reveal and ceremonial display (I hope).
But these kids were amazing, and just like any kid with childhood cancer, just trying to get through the day with minimal complications or complaints. A feat all its own.
Truly, it’s the wonderful folks and outreach programs that are run by The Aslan Project that give hope to so many children in very dire circumstances. I’m truly honored to be here and peak in on this entire process and to see first hand what donations, support, love, commitment and compassion can do for so many children in Ethiopia with a sobering cancer diagnosis.
Lastly, my day also included seeing Lucy (intact bones of a 3.4 million old young lady); an authentic Ethiopian lunch, a trip to the Merkato (huge market), and seeing a wedding (with tribal dress) at the lunchtime restaurant. My tour ended by 6:00pm, and I had to pinch myself for this banner day!